Hollowland / Page 40

Page 40


“Yeah. I can.” She crossed her arms and stared straight ahead.

“I won’t be around forever,” I said gently.

She looked at me from the corner of her eye, unwilling to turn her head completely. Her eyes rested on the scratch on my arm, and almost reluctantly, she caved. Her entire body relaxed, her arms dropped to her sides, and she looked at me sadly.

“I was never mad at you,” she said like she had no idea what I was talking about.

“Good.”

“Now that that’s out of the way, anyone wanna play a game of ‘I Spy’ with me?” Lazlo asked. Since he hated the game, I assumed he suggested it to further appease Harlow.

“It’s too dark to play.” Harlow looked out her window at the black landscape. Without any electricity, the only lights on the road came from our car. The stars shone brightly, but the moon only had a thin crescent to give off light.

“Nonsense. There’s gotta be stuff we can see.” Lazlo searched the road, determined to prove her wrong.

“What about that?” Harlow pointed to the front windshield.

On the road a ways in front of us, the headlights glinted off something shiny. The closer we got, the more things glinted. Small flashes of light all across the road, reminding me of lightening bugs, but the glimmer had something menacing about it.

“What the hell is that?” Lazlo leaned forward, slowing the car down.

We drove near enough where the headlights hit more than their eyes, and we could see them lurching forward. They weren’t at their usual manic speed, but they were definitely a small legion of zombies. They stood there or stumbled ahead slowly, their arms hanging disjointed, their faces clawed and drooling. Some of them looked dismembered, and all of them were old and in terrible shape.

“Holy shit!” Lazlo slammed on the breaks.

“What’s going on?” Blue snapped awake, and Ripley growled in the back.

“Zombies are blocking the road!” Lazlo gestured to the pack in front of us. “What do I do?”

We sat in the middle of the road in an elderly station wagon with two guns and a lion, and I didn’t know how much ammo we had left. I might already be infected with the virus, and none of us knew exactly how close or how far we were from the quarantine. An army of half-dead monsters trudged towards us, and we had to make a decision.

“Run the fuckers over,” Harlow said, and none of us disagreed with her.

Lazlo pressed on the gas, and the car surged forward, as fast as this car could surge. It plowed into the zombies, and it gave me a twisted satisfaction at watching them splat on the hood on the car. Harlow actually squealed.

The car mowed down a few of them initially, but running into bodies took a toll on it. And then the zombies started pushing back. Too late, we realized the zombies were at lot stronger and faster than they pretended to be. They had faked us out.

We weren’t moving forward at all. They rocked the car from side to side, trying to tip us, and I remembered the truck where we found Ripley. The zombies had flipped it, and here we were, in the exact same situation. And I knew how well it turned out for the people in the truck.

Harlow screamed, and Lazlo shouted for everyone to hang on, although I’m not sure how that would help. Blue told me to get the guns, but I was already on it, climbing into the back with a very pissed off lion. She slammed her paws into the windows, trying to get at the zombies taunting her from the other side, and I prayed she didn’t break the glass. I did not need her letting zombies in here.

I got the shotgun and passed it forward to Blue, but I couldn’t find the handgun. Harlow had it last, and I had no idea what she’d done with it. Crawling on my hands and knees in the back, I searched through the bags, and narrowly missed being swiped by Ripley’s giant paws. She didn’t want to hurt me, but I was in the way of her attempted zombie murder.

Lazlo shouted things I didn’t understand, and the car started doing more than just rock back and forth. It was full on tipping.

I tried to grab onto something to hang onto, but it happened so fast. One second, I was on my knees, the next I was tumbling head over feet over lion.

I heard things shattering and metal crunching and people screaming, but I hit my head and everything became very disorienting.

Ripley leapt over me, her chain smacking painfully into my stomach, and then she was gone. I heard her roaring and felt a greasy hand grabbing onto my arm. I sat up, yanking my arm from a zombie grip.

When the car flipped over, the back window broke out. Shattered glass was strewn about with the bags, and zombies were starting to creep in the back.

Ripley rushed out to get them, and she held off a few, but there were too many for just her. There were too many for us.

The zombie that grabbed my arm kept coming after me. I picked up a giant shard of broken glass and stabbed it into its throat, and the zombie finally stopped. But another one was right on its heels.

“Remy!” Lazlo yelled. Blood trailed down his forehead, but he was sitting up and held his hand out to me.

Only the back window had been broken out, so in the front, they were safe. Blue tried to aim the gun at the zombies coming at me, but I was in the way. Harlow had crouched down, covering her head with her hands, but otherwise, everyone looked okay.

A zombie came at me, and I kicked in its face. It squished in, leaving a gooey mess all over the bottom of my shoe. I scooted backwards on my butt, mindful of the broken glass, but getting away from the window as quickly as possible.

Once I was out of the way, Blue shot the zombies. After he blew one of their heads off, they came in a lot more slowly. Outside, I could hear their death groans and Ripley’s roars as she took them on. I hoped she didn’t get hurt, but at this point, I voted her most likely to survive out of all of us.

“Are you okay?” Lazlo knelt right behind me.

“Yeah.” I looked over at Blue, who fired on another intruder. “I couldn’t find the handgun.”

“I don’t think it’s gonna matter all that much.” Blue gave me a sidelong glance, and he’d come to the same conclusion I had. We were completely overwhelmed.

The zombies pounded on the side of the car, the sounds echoing through the small space like thunder. That was interrupted by shattering glass, and I covered my face.

Before I could tell where they had gotten in, Harlow screamed. I looked up to see her being dragged out through the broken window, her fingers desperately raking on the felt ceiling of the car.

– 15 –

I went out the window after her. Glass from the broken window scraped my knees, and a long piece slashed across my stomach, but I barely noticed it. Harlow’s plaintive cries blocked out everything else.


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